A minimum amount to protect the book market. The Ministers of Economy and Culture accepted this Friday the proposal of the Regulatory Authority for Electronic Communications, Posts and Press Distribution (Arcep) concerning the minimum pricing of book delivery costs, announce they in a statement.
From now on, a rate of 3 euros minimum delivery costs will have to be applied for any order of books less than 35 euros. This minimum pricing does not, however, concern “orders withdrawn from a retail bookstore, bookstore or other”, underlines the ministries. For an order over 35 euros, the standard distributor fees will apply, often up to 0.01 euro.
If the Darcos law of 2021 provided for the establishment of a minimum pricing, its exact amount was the subject of a public consultation by Arcep. The proposal formulated by the authority was thus adopted by Bruno Le Maire and Rima Abdul Malak. The aim is to restore fairness “between certain major online trading platforms – which practice almost free shipping costs for books regardless of the amount ordered – and a whole network of booksellers who cannot match these rates for orders of a small amount”, explains the press release.
They also specify that “the price of 3 euros, commonly applied for the delivery of other products, does not appear to be a deterrent for buyers and (that) the threshold of 35 euros favors the grouping of orders, a virtuous gesture in terms of transition ecological”.
An amount lower than the demands of booksellers
Booksellers pleaded against what they called “virtually free”, advocating a minimum of 4.50 euros, or even more. By deciding in favor of the amount proposed by Arcep, the government chooses a middle way, while Amazon mentioned an amount of 1.49 euros during the public consultation on the tariff to be set.
On the book market, France stands out by having been the first country in the world, in 1981, to pass a law imposing a single price on new books, among other measures to ensure the sustainability of bookstores. According to the Syndicat de la Librairie Française, this has made it possible to maintain one of the densest networks of independent bookstores in the world, with 3,500 of them selling “nearly one in two books”.